Joshua Wong, one of the unexpected leaders of the Umbrella Movement
After ENO’s selection of directors, I chose to work for Jodi. I really love her style, and I’m really happy to be working with such a talented lady!
However, things didn’t initially go as planned..
When we presented the storyboard to Chris and Natasha, their review was quite negative and filled with criticism. Their suggestion: go back and rethink the whole thing.
This came as a shock to us since we had no idea what were the reasons they picked the film proposals they did. But after that meeting, it became pretty obvious that they had chosen Jodi for her lovely visual style – not for her story.
We had to go back to the drawing board and help Jodi developing a new storyline that would please Chris and Natasha..
So we had a brainstorm, developed 2 different storylines and sent them for feedback(/Chris and Natasha to pick their favourite). The first version was a very literal narrative about Gandhi’s life and the second version wanted to draw a parallelism between Gandhi’s movement and subsequent civil disobedience movements, like the Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution. This second option was particularly interesting since Jodi is a Hong Kong citizen and is watching her state lose the democratic rights it had while it was colonised by the British.
Personally, I find the idea of recounting a story that has been told so many times (read Gandhi’s story) – and that focuses on something that happened years and years ago – to be as boring as it is conservative.
I understand that maybe the youth doesn’t know Gandhi’s story that well (if that is even the target audience we’re doing these films for..), and I also understand the importance of looking into the past to act for the future. However, it feels to me that looking into the present and referring to the past as an inspiration, would serve as a much inspirational piece for social action on whatever issue we need/should be working on. Especially in the umbrella revolution situation, where its leaders are in jail – just like Gandhi was in jail. This storyline could’ve provided a little beam of hope to the Hong Kong situation, since Gandhi’s perseverance – as much as Joshua Wong’s – produced the needed social changes.
As expected, this was Chris and Natasha’s least preferred version so we ploughed through with Gandhi’s story for the animation. Nevertheless, I did some research on the Hong Kong Situation which I had no idea it was this bad.
I find the UK’s ‘loving’ political behaviour towards China shameful, considering the world knows they are not following the agreement to preserve HK’s democracy. Anyway… Here’s some of the articles I read and a really nice doc (available on netflix) about Joshua Wong.
- Joshua Wong, the student who risked the wrath of Beijing: ‘It’s about turning the impossible into the possible’
- Hong Kong citizens step up protests as riot police withdrawn
- Prison is an inevitable part of Hong Kong’s exhausting path to democracy
- Joshua: teenager vs. superpower